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Electric Sportbike Reaches 190.6 mph

Official landspeed record passed by 17 mph

Chip Yates recorded 190.6 mph one-mile run on an electric sportbike at the April 10 Mojave Mile Shootout.

Sprinting from a standing start, Yates reached the 190.6 mph mark on the SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing Electric Superbike. Though Yates’ run is still unofficial at this point, it shatters the previous land speed record for an electric motorcycle (173 mph set by Lightning Motors at the Bonneville Salt Flats in September 2010).

Yates and the SWIGZ.COM team have been busy preparing their electric motorcycle for the 2011 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, but they decided to take a two-week break to reconfigure the superbike for the Mojave Mile.

Normally designed for road racing circuits, the electric superbike was reconfigured for the land-speed style run with a custom aerodynamic fairing from Catalyst Racing Composites, software updates from electric motor and controller supplier UQM Technologies and higher strength drive sprockets and custom-ground jackshaft from Crushmaster Grinding / Evolution Industries. The SWIGZ.COM team also assembled a supplementary six-cell lithium-ion polymer battery pack.

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Despite the impressive 190.6 mph top speed, Yates says he was disappointed he fell short of the 200 mph mark.

“All our models of the bike’s performance as well as the data collected from today’s runs put our top speed on a one-mile course at over 200 MPH, but unfortunately I was unable to go full throttle for the whole one-mile run due to a high speed buffeting that caused some weaving of the bike similar to what slowed us a bit at Auto Club Speedway in January and February,” says Yates. “We made some aerodynamic changes to improve the buffeting but then suffered failures of both our main charger, and our backup battery charger due to high voltage spikes coming from a rented generator we were using in our pits. With no way to recharge our batteries, I was only able to make two runs. I’m disappointed about not reaching 200 MPH today, but I know we can do it next time out and for now I have to be happy with establishing our superbike as the fastest electric motorcycle in the world!”

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